Random Facts about the Atlantic Cable
THE FIRST ATLANTIC CABLE
As early as 1842 Professor Morse declared a submarine cable connection between America and Europe to be among the possibilities, but no attempt toward this great achievement was made until 1854, when Cyrus Field established a company, which secured the right of landing cables in Newfoundland for fifty years. In 1858 soundings between Ireland and Newfoundland were completed, showing a maximum depth of 4,400 meters. Having succeeded in laying a cable between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Mr. Field secured the co-operation of English capitalists in his enterprise. The laying of the cable was begun August 7, 1857, from the port of Valencia, Ireland, but on the third day it broke, and the expedition had to return. Early in the following year another attempt was made. The cable was laid from both ends at the same time, was joined in mid-ocean, but in lowering it was broken. Again, in the same year, the attempt was made, and this time connection was successfully made. The first message over the line was sent August 7, 1858. The insulation of this cable, however, was defective, and by September 4th had quite failed. Some time was now spent in experiments, conducted by scientists, to secure a more perfect cable. A new company was formed, and in 1865 the work again began. The Great Eastern was employed to lay the cable, but when it was partly laid serious defects in the line were discovered and in repairing these it broke. The apparatus for recovering the wire proving insufficient the vessel returned to England. A new company, called the Anglo-American, was formed in 1865, and again the Great Eastern was equipped for the enterprise. The plan of the new expedition was not only to lay a new cable, but also to take up the end of the old one and join it to a new piece, thus obtaining a second telegraph line. The vessel sailed from Valencia July 13, 1866, and July 27 the cable was completely laid to Heart's Content, Newfoundland, and a message announcing the fact sent over the wire to Lord Stanley. Queen Victoria sent a message of congratulation to President Buchanan on the 28th. September 2d the lost cable of 1865 was recovered and its laying completed at Newfoundland September 8, 1866.